Two years ago today, I took delivery of 25 cartons each containing 40 copies of Virgin, the book from which this blog takes its name. The Guadalajara printer and I carried them one by one up our front steps and stacked them along one wall of our living room. My husband could not help. We had brought him home the day before from a Mexican hospital after seven hours of back surgery. Larry lay in the bed he would occupy for the next six weeks, when I opened a carton and took out the first copy of Virgin Territory: How I Found My Inner Guadalupe. My book! Although it had been up on Amazon both as a Kindle edition and a hard copy for over a month, this was the first time I had held an actual copy in my hand. It felt good. It seemed the culmination of several years of exploration. I’d recounted my journey towards a major life shift – a move to Mexico, a whole new way of being me. I had no idea then that I had only crossed the border. There was so much more to discover.
Two years. It feels like several lifetimes. I’ve done little more in the way of promoting my book than write this blog, visit and stock gringo bookstores here in Mexico, and make a few short tours Stateside. No paid advertising, no press reviews, no scintillating discussions with Terry Gross or Krista Tippet. I’ve spent most of these past two years moving from one crisis to another. I’ve come through another operation for my husband, as well as the deaths of both parents. Mom died this past Christmas Day. She did not like my book. We never spoke of it after she first made her feelings clear to me two years ago. But over the last months of 2011, we had reached what might be described as a sweet place in our relationship. And then she was gone.
That’s why this blog has lain dormant for a while. I haven’t known where to restart, or whether there should just be an ending. I’ve been keeping quiet, listening, praying. A few mornings back I woke from a dream where I was spinning a filmy cocoon over the events of these last months. I came to a realization. I don’t have to explain anything right now. I don’t have to examine or understand the emotional turmoil. My job right now is to wrap it all in love, put it in a safe place, and wait. I trust someday a butterfly will emerge. Right now I need to get on with life.
Despite my neglect of the past two years, sales of Virgin Territory have continued. There are evidently a lot of women, and quite a few special men who ¨get¨ the Inner Guadalupe thing. The term is a euphemism for what I call ¨virgin¨ qualities. The original meaning of the Greek word translated virgin in the Bible had nothing to do with physiology. A virgin was someone who was one-in-herself, undefined by any human relationship. She was intact, focused, complete, whole, un-fragmented, the author of her own experience. Therefore, she had authority. That’s why virgins were put in charge of temples, and fountains and flames and such. Virginity, in its original meaning, is a powerful thing. That is true for anyone, no matter what gender. So each month I’ve seen a small deposit from Amazon in my U.S. bank account. Local bookstores and boutiques here in Mexico keep selling the occasional copy. Three or four times the bell has rung on our front gate, and there will be someone, book in hand, who wants me to personalize her copy. Of the 25 original cartons, only three remain. I am humbly grateful for all of this.
I will bring one carton with me when I travel from home in Rincón de Guayabitos to San Miguel de Allende when I speak and read at the Literary Sala, April 12. The title of the talk is ‘Getting Naked, Being Clothed.’ It should speak to anyone who has ever felt stripped bare, in whatever sense, and longed to feel fully clothed once more. Every virgin needs a new spring outfit!